tough talks contest

This Comic Strip Contest Is Offering Cash for Stories About HIV Disclosure

If you’re a gay or bisexual man between the ages of 16-29 who loves comics, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill wants to hear from you! The school is currently hosting the Tough Talks Comic Book Contest where you can write your own comic strip about HIV disclosure — with a cash prize. Better still, if you can’t draw, don’t worry, as all the art is provided for you.

The contest is also part of a larger study. Researchers at the Behavior and Technology Lab (or BATLab) at UNC Chapel Hill are working on a virtual reality program for men living with HIV. The program will help them think about, process and practice disclosing their status.

Where do the comics come in? They’ll help researchers create the real world by allowing them to see real stories of disclosure. If you’re not poz, that’s a-OK! After all, disclosure is a two-way street. You won’t be identified, and the BATLab is keeping your information confidential. You can even provide a pseudonym to credit your comic.

tough talks contest comic example

You can even submit as many comics as you want, because there’s no limit. As for the prizes, UNC is offering three levels. There’s a daily prize of $10, a weekly prize of $50 and the grand prize is $100.

Prior to submitting your comic, you’ll need to fill out their survey to see if you’re eligible.

The interface is very easy to navigate. You have a choice of different characters, and you can use their pre-selected scenarios (like meeting a sexy guy in a gay club) or create your own. Just put in your dialogue in the provided text entry box and the website automatically creates the comic. It even gives you a live preview as you’re writing!

The contest ends in December, and the guidelines are pretty simple:

  1. Comics must have understandable dialogue
  2. Comics must be written in English
  3. Write like you talk, and slang and cursing are allowed
  4. There is no limit to how many comics you can submit
  5. You can win the daily contest no more than twice in one week

Good luck, and we can’t wait to see all the great comics you’ll come up with.


Photo by vgajic via iStock